Northshore woman has a unique twist on home-made Christmas ornam - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Northshore woman has a unique twist on home-made Christmas ornaments


Mandeville, La - A Mandeville woman could use a couple of elves to help her this Christmas season. With some dough, paint and love, Colleen Toye makes hundreds of ornaments that are tributes to New Orleans.

"We are so blessed with this wonderful city of ours. We have these great tourists come and they always want to take something back with them," Toye said.

She draws inspiration from New Orleans and all the things you can't find anywhere else. She says she has about 35 ornament designs, from coffee and beignets to red beans and rice. With some bread dough, she earns dough through her Crescent City Ornaments.

"This will make Po-Boys and this will make French Quarter houses," she said pointing to two clumps of colored dough.

The little tributes to some New Orleans favorites hang on Christmas Trees. Her passion started 30 years ago.

"I was a new mom and had a six month old baby. I wanted to do something to help out with the family finances," she said.

Colleen and her husband raised four children. Now, her Mandeville home is an ornament factory of sorts. Forty different stores statewide carry her unique designs.

"Here's one Shrimp Po-Boy," she said molding a perfect little sandwich.

It starts with tinted or plain dough and then the ornaments bake in the oven from 12 to 24 hours. Next, she glazes the creations in a shed out back. They dry for several hours as well. Toye has boxes of completed ornaments in her garage.

"We have the alligator, crabs, crawfish, fleur de lis," she said ticking off her finished works.

Christmas is hectic. Toye called it Santa's Workshop that operates all year long. Most of her demand comes from the French Quarter, where tourists are fascinated with the trinkets.

"They can take a little piece of New Orleans back with them," she said.

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